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Moving the Santa Rosa Southeast Greenway Forward
–STEPHEN FULLER-ROWELL

    The next Santa Rosa Southeast Greenway Campaign public meeting is scheduled for Saturday, February 8, 2014, from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon at The Glaser Center at 547 Mendocino Avenue in Santa Rosa.

    Moving the Southeast Greenway Forward: A Community Partnership will include:

    Progress Report on the Southeast Greenway Campaign by the Campaign leadership;

    Parks for People: A presentation by Trudy Garber, Project Associate with the Trust for Public Land;

    Community Partnerships - New Models for Parks and Open Space:
    A Forum with representatives of the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District, Sonoma County Regional Parks, City of Santa Rosa Recreation and Parks Department, and LandPaths.

    The public is encouraged to RSVP to Linda@SoutheastGreenway.org for this free event which is co-sponsored by the Southeast Greenway Campaign, ArchiLOGIX, TLCD, LandPaths, Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, and the Leadership Institute for Ecology and the Economy.

The Southeast Greenway Campaign is a community-based effort to develop a vital urban greenway on the stretch of open space in Santa Rosa that links Spring Lake to Highway 12 at Farmers Lane. This will create a community asset that will:

    • Strengthen our regional network of bike and pedestrian trails, providing safe ways to bike and walk to school, work or shopping

    • Encourage healthy lifestyles by providing community gardens, gathering places and recreational opportunities

    • Preserve and restore native trees, grasses, wildlife habitat, creeks and wetlands

    • Contribute to our local economy and quality of life

Caltrans released a draft of a long-awaited new Highway 12 study in August 2013. The draft report confirms at long last that the freeway section of State Route 12 will not be extended east from Farmers Lane through Spring Lake Park. This is good news. The report also makes it clear that the decision on the future use of the corridor lies with the City of Santa Rosa and Sonoma County in conjunction with the local community. It explains that the State’s responsibility, once the land is declared excess, is to sell it at the highest possible value. This policy reflects the original cost of purchase by the tax payer through the State.

Fortunately, the California Transportation Plan and Caltrans Smart Mobility Framework seek to enhance the economy, support communities, safeguard the environment for the benefit of all, respond to climate change and reduce CO2 emissions. Our community will therefore have many approaches to ensure that appraisals of these 52 acres reflect critical values that enhance community benefits for all. These non-monetary values would include the potential for alternative transportation, conservation, mitigation, and climate adaptation. The offices of our State representatives are ready to assist with any special legislation that may be needed to facilitate transfer of title from Caltrans to a local agency.

Once the draft report becomes final, it is expected to take approximately one year for Caltrans to go through the process of declaring the Highway 12 right-of-way as excess land. During this time – 2014 – it will be essential for our community to come together and agree on a creative and viable proposal for Caltrans to transfer title of the property to a local entity on reasonable terms. Community partnerships and a show of broad-based support for the Southeast Greenway from all stakeholders in Sonoma County will be crucial.

According to the National Park Service: Greenway corridors have the potential to create jobs, enhance property values, expand local businesses, attract new and relocating businesses, increase local tax revenues, decrease local government expenditures, and promote a local community.

Visit www.SoutheastGreenway.org for more information, maps and background reports and attend the meeting on February 8 to learn more about how our community can come together to acquire this incredible asset.


Redwood Forest
Courtesy of National Park Service

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